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Inequality, American Democracy, and American Political Science: The Need for Cumulative Research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 February 2006

Jacob S. Hacker
Yale University


The members of the Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy were not of one mind about any of the subjects they took up—and this is one reason, among many, that it was the most vibrant and stimulating professional collaboration I have had the privilege to be part of. It would be presumptuous of me to speak for anyone but myself in explaining and justifying the Task Force's work. And yet, there does seem to me at least one note of common explanation required up front. All the members of the Task Force, I am certain, saw their work as only the beginning of a discussion within the discipline—and, indeed, more broadly—about the relationship between inequality and contemporary American governance. Although we hoped to showcase and integrate the best existing research and theory, our main goal was to spark new questions, new research, new thinking, and new debates. And judging from this forum, as well as from the recent scholarship showcased in Larry Bartels's (2006) and Kay Schlozman's (2006) essays, we have.

© 2006 The American Political Science Association

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